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Witnessing a Changing Family Planning Policy
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  • Huang Zheng, born in 1980. He hopes to have a sibling because he wants a companion. If possible, he would prefer an elder sister as he thinks it would be easier to communicate with her than his parents. He doesn't feel lonely, but he thinks life would be better if he had one.
  • Liu Yun, born in 1984. She never thinks about having siblings because she has cousins, whom she gets along very well with.
  • Lu Da, born in 1986. He hopes to have a sibling because it's good for children while they are growing up. They could discuss their problems and share the burden of looking after their parents.
  • Dai Chen, born in 1988. He doesn't want siblings because he would have to share everything with them, including the money going toward his education.
  • Zhang Haoran, born in 1990. He thinks it's good to have siblings around the same age so he can learn how to communicate and share with his peers.
  • Jiang Chencheng, born in 1993. She doesn't want any siblings who would compete for her economical resources at home. It would be too difficult for her family to afford sending all of them to a good university.
  • Zhao Mengge, born in 1997. She hopes to have a younger sister because she wouldn't be that active and easier to look after.
  • Dai Jingting, born in 2001. She hopes to have siblings because it's boring to stay at home by herself.
  • Wang Qi'an, born in 2003. He doesn't want a sibling. He found that those who have a sibling got lower grades during a survey he did of his class.
  • Ding Zhongcheng, born in 2008. He doesn't want a sibling because they will mess up the house. He would rather have an elder brother or sister.
  • Liang Xibao's (first left) family headed to a meeting in north China's Shanxi Province in 1954. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the country faced an enormous labor shortage. In response, the government encouraged people to have more children. (XINHUA)
  • A publicity team performs a program about family planning for locals in Shaoxing in east China's Zhejiang Province in January 1985. The Family Planning Policy was included in the Constitution for the first time in 1978, and in 1982 the 12th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress made family planning a fundamental state policy.
  • A village in east China's Anhui Province gathering women who had more children than what the family planning plan allowed in 1989. Many of those women came here just to give birth. In the beginning of the 1980s, many rural families still had more than one child due to a traditional thinking that male heirs carried on the family line, and because the family needed men to work the land.
  • A well-known Chinese director, Zhang Yimou, and his wife, Chen Ting, apologized in 2014 for having three kids while not getting married for which they paid a penalty of 7.48 million yuan ($1.2 million). The Population and Family Planning Law enacted in 2002 defines the penalty for exceeding the stipulated birth limit as social compensation fees since more children would use more public services.
  • A mother from east China's Shandong Province cries over the death of her only child during a family gathering on May 15, 2014. There are currently 190 million only children in China, which means every year 76,000 families will lose their only child based on the 0.04-percent death rate of people aged 15-30.
  • Sheng Hailin, 61, and her 100-days-old twins pose in a photo studio on September 2, 2010. Sheng lost her only daughter and took the risk of giving birth again in 2009, which for her was a huge comfort. She had the test tube babies at the age of 60, becoming the oldest pregnant woman in China.
  • A family in southeast China's Fujian Province in 1984. The baby pictured is expected to face a lot of pressure to support his four grandparents later in life. The Fifth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee revised the one-child policy and allows all couples to have two children in order to balance China's demographical structure and addressing the challenge of an ageing population.
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All photos are courtesy of

Edited by Li Fangfang

The Fifth Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee revised the family planning policy on October 29, allowing all couples to have two children, which has trigged a hot debate in China. Couples who were born in the 1970s wonder if there is enough time to have another child. Younger couples who want to wait and see or refuse to have another child are more concerned with the possible economic burdens. However, in the eyes of children, what would siblings mean for them? Do they want a sibling? Photographer Carlos Barria aimed his camera lens at a generation born after the Family and Planning Policy took effect. He interviewed dozens of only children born from 1979 to 2014 and listen to their opinions. (This photo gallery shows part of them.)
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